About Me

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The business bit: I have had 25 years experience in the IT sector encompassing equipment finance to computer recycling. The coaching bit: is about delivering business mentoring and personal performance coaching. My clients range from senior executives to the unemployed and I delight in working with them all to build excellence and promote growth. My specialisms are working with business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and enjoy themselves in the process, and helping individuals to realise their full potential. I also work with young people to build confidence and life skills so they can grasp life's opportunities and make the right life choices.

Monday, 9 December 2013

HESTONWORLD

Heston Blumenthal is pretty successful  - chef, restaurateur, author, television personality - and he is hyper busy with a more than heavyweight schedule that is enough to make mere mortals reach for the smelling salts.  However he has quoted that "Just because I have done 120 hours a week doesn't mean that's the best way to do it."

And herein lies the nugget - is it really necessary to prostrate ourselves with industry and rushing around and 'doing'? Certainly it seems to be a bit trendy.  There are articles popping up all over the place mentioning witty acronyms like FOMO (fear of missing out) and SHARENTS (parents who have to share the wondrous mega achievements of their kids) and concepts such as 'Out-interesting' others (what it says on the tin).

This all rather smacks of reducing our lives to a list of goals and overachieving rather than finding a balance and sticking to our true values and motivations.  If you feel the pressure to 'out-do', 'over-excel', 'out perform' or you realise you are stringing yourself up on being in some way better or bigger it might not be that you are just trying to show off, but rather that you have got caught up in this increasingly ridiculous myth of 'doing'.  Maybe you should be looking at the real WHY of what you have set yourself to do.  It isn't just about being seen to be doing so much all the time, there isn't anything particularly impressive about overarching busyness.  Reflect instead on the real meaning and purpose of why you are pursuing those goals.  

And what better time to do this than in the festive season? Think 'Silent Night'... all is peace, all is calm....


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Pascal's Wager - a good bet?

What a clever bloke Pascal was

Settle down and concentrate on this one.....Pascal's Wager was about whether or not there is a God. If you wager against there being a God and there IS a God, that is bad news for you, so you should wager for there being a God.  Pascal believed that religious belief was not a rational, but rather an existential  choice, i.e. a choice you make in the face of uncertainty.  So how do we make the right choice if we aren't basing it on a betting outcome? 

We have talked about uncertainty before and one of the things that comes up a lot in building the ability to make choices in an uncertain world, is to think about two things; 

  • Firstly, do you HAVE to make that decision at that particular time?  Sometimes we get hung up on making choices and decisions, when what we might need is a little time to step away from the decision making process, clear some mental space and let the ideas and emotions free reign, leading to those moments of enlightenment that help us make the right choices.
  • Secondly, it is okay to change what you are oding if things don't feel right or go the way you intended.  Someone mentioned recently that one of the reasons Angela Merkel keeps being re-elected is that she is not rigid in her political life. She is very determined but  she tries to see things from different perspectives (even her opponent's standpoint) and be collaborative and she is not afraid to change the way she does things if it will help her achieve her objectives.   

If you want a gently challenging hand in making your choices or checking the odds get in touch and we'll help you lay your bets.   Or you can visit our website to get some ideas.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Congratulations to Debbie!

We are humbled by one woman's endeavour.  Debbie Simpson completed the Marathon des Sables last week, and here is her brief summary of her journey:

"Stage One - 37.2km - Biggest challenge was weight of 10kg pack, struggled with searing heat, adapting to typical terrain, mixture of ascents up jebels, mountain passes, sand mounds, camel grass, rock, crevasses, sand dunes … 1st blister (left instep), hands like 2 bunches of bananas .. glad to reach bivouac for first cup of legendary mint tea.
Ranking = 732

Stage Two - 30.7km - Most technical day with greatest ascent = 1000m: my favourite day for the views from the high mountain ridges .. 2nd, 3rd and 4th blisters plus 2 bruised big toenails .. feeling stronger by using poles which helped offload weight of pack and enabled my Saharan shuffle to increase a little in pace, gave me better balance scrambling over rocks and boulders, helped reduce swelling of hands.
Ranking = 625

Stage Three - 38km - Acclimatising better to heat, pack and terrain. 5th blister - oh the joys of wonder drug paracetamol! Feet and ankles grossly swollen, prickly heat unpleasant but everyone suffering so time to grit teeth and keep going.
Ranking = 594

Stage Four - 75.7km - The Big Nasty - slept badly, began with queasy tummy and nausea, slogged the first 36km feeling sick so forcing insufficient intake of water, salt and calories .. temperature 54C - reached CP3 and collapsed in medical tent with heat stroke & dehydration - my lowest point of the week .. took 2 hours to rehydrate enough to get back on my feet - staggered every step of the remaining 40km on verge of D&V. Extremely hard to maintain hydration. Crossed 10km of sand dunes between CP4 and CP5 around midnight, amazingly twinkly night sky. Buddied with 2 American guys as nervous about my condition and erratic visibility of glow sticks which disappeared amongst the mountainous dunes (biggest height and distance of dunes all week). Navigation to CP5 assisted by Star Trek-esque laser beam pointing into the night sky, visible for 20 miles. Managed hot food at CP5 but collapsed again at CP6 taking refuge in sleeping bag for an hour. Set off on last 10km around 4am .. quite surreal as shuffling alone, following pin pricks of marker glow sticks - when I felt lonely I could turn and see a tiny trail of head torch lights behind me. Dawn and sunrise were beautiful and the sight of camp made me weep .. finally hobbled over finish line around 7.20am. Learnt later that Laurence Klein, favourite to win ladies, had retired from race at CP4 with heat stroke..
Ranking = 827

Rest Day - A can of chilled coke - bloody miraculous!! Rehydrated fully and doubled my salt intake.

Stage Five - Marathon Stage - 42.2km - Final Race Stage
Feeling so much stronger, temperatures still over 50C but fully hydrated and no nausea. Remained on double dose of salt tablets. Doused my Union Jack with water and draped over my shoulders to help ward off baking heat. Realised I was maintaining quicker pace as didn't recognise those around me. Finally glimpsed the Finish, seemed to take forever to reach and so euphoric on crossing the line I ran past Patrick Bauer waiting to present my medal and had to be ushered back .. Tent buddies probably have it about right naming me Dipsy!!
Ranking = 483 .. saved my best for last!

Final ranking = 736

Charity Stage - 8km of sand dunes on Saturday in support of UNICEF, rather weary but enjoyed waving my flag decorated with Luke, Katie, Max and Toms' names .. finally managed to feature in the official photos - the Union Jack is such a distinctive flag!

Hugs and thanks to all my wonderful friends and supporters - such a flood of positive, encouraging and loving energy helped me to achieve so much more than I could have imagined possible ..

Debbie "


Debbie was running in support of Facing Africa , sponsorship for which has now reached £11,564.51.



Friday, 12 April 2013

Women at the Top.....again 

We have had the 'leaning in' argument from Sheryl Sandberg, (read this for an interesting male response to her talk) and then there is Marissa Mayer telling us we can have it all.  It is all quite exhausting listening to these highly successful and powerful women telling us what we should be doing.  

Now Bea Perez, Coca-Cola's chief sustainability officer has joined the fray, saying that women entrepreneurs need to be more visible.  "Investing in women is one of the most powerful ways to spur sustainable economic growth and development" she said at Coca-Cola's webchat for their 5by20 initiative.  5by20 aims to support the economic empowerment of five million female entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain by 2010.  A noble and worthy objective and particularly as it is working with small businesses across 200 countries.  

What is nice about this initiative is that it isn't all just about women at the top of massive global organisations who can afford to open a creche facility in their company because they are the CEO, or who have an army of help at home, or whose partners are prepared to fill all the gaps left by these powerful women in their demanding working days.  It is about women at all levels and this makes the Coca-Cola initiative really interesting.  We are going to keep our eye on it!



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Being Bossy

We've previously talked about the nature of a good leader.  Oliver James has now related the Dark Triad of personalities to 3 types of boss:  the psychopath, the Macchiavelli and the narcissist.

This is a little worrying.  Particularly as it seems that any one of these types will probably manifest behaviours from the other two types as well. Let's look at the first type, the psychopath.  There are going to be elements of this profile that lend themselves well to being a good leader, being cunning and charming for example, and having the ability to be detached and remorseless.  However most psychopaths are of average intelligence, are untruthful and unreliable, and display poor judgement as well as being pathologically egocentric.  Not such great leadership behaviours.

What about the narcissist?  Being conceited, argumentative and selfish don't seem to put one in the front line for promotion to leadership.  Neither does expecting constant praise and admiration or expressing disdain for those you believe to be lesser mortals than you.  And as for Macchiavelli, well the man himself got on in life through his willingness and aptitude for deceit, manipulation and exploitation to gain and maintain power. 


So why do our leaders exhibit these personality types?  What is it that allows them to 'get on' and us to support them? 

All three of these types are closely associated with charisma. Macchiavellians exercise control over close relations in order to achieve their aims and they gain popularity as a result of an ability to create a desirable image that is in fact distinct from who they are, but which appeals to others.  Psychopaths are disarming and can seem to be fearlessly heroic which attracts others to them.  David T. Lykken in his book 'The Antisocial Personalities' observed that Lyndon Baines Johnson and Winston Churchill were "daring, unconventional youngsters who began by playing by their own rules" before becoming successful leaders.   Narcissistic leaders are dominant and self-confident with a sense of entitlement.  Research done in Silicon Valley revealed that narcissistic business leaders there earned more and stayed in their jobs longer.   Being action oriented and goal focused can be an appealing trait in a boss.

Whether or not we think Bill Gates, General Petraeus and Winston Churchill are examples of any of these personality types, we might be best served to look at what elements of their personalities have served us well, how those elements might be emulated and how they can inform us to recognise and nurture better leaders in the future.  Lots of scope for innovative thinking there for leadership and management training!  Meanwhile, if you fancy doing your own Meta Profile test, get in touch.